back to article AMD's 64-bit ARM server chip Seattle finally flies the coop ... but where will it call home?

AMD is at last officially shipping its 64-bit ARM-based server chip, the Opteron A1100 aka Seattle. This wee beastie packs a load of networking and storage interfaces, and is seemingly eyeing up hyper-converged boxes in data centers. We've gone into plenty of detail on the processor in the past, but to recap: it's a quad or …

  1. TeeCee Gold badge
    Holmes

    Well, who could have seen that coming...?

    The server world is reliant on 64-bit address spaces these days, and Calxeda just couldn't get its 64-bit parts out in time.

    Just think. They could have read this and saved themselves all that pain...

    How much does this "industry analyst" gig pay?

  2. Alistair
    Windows

    arm core virtualization stack

    lower power consumption, good connectivity, all on the core, lots of IO room.

    hardware virtualization tools.

    I can see uses for these critters. Might want to get Trevor a mess of these to play with in his lab. I'll help out if he'd like.......

  3. Fazal Majid

    They should start selling them as appliances

    Things like Spark or Hadoop clusters-in-a-box, Or Cassandra, ElasticSearch etc.

    The density needs to go way higher, though - even a 5x improvement in performance per watt will get drowned out by Amdahl's law when CPU power consumption only represents about 20-30% of total system power usage (DRAM accounts for a significant proportion).

  4. Mikel

    The future can't be prevented. Only delayed.

    There will be ARM servers.

    In the meantime this will make a nice home NAS.

    1. Gordan

      Re: The future can't be prevented. Only delayed.

      Yeah. And the AMD offering in this case is beyond laughably late. They generated a lot of hype when they announced the board. In the end they delivered 18 months later than expected and without the originally insinuated feature set (e.g. not in *TX form factor). Other manufacturers like Gigabyte have beaten them to it by nearly a year.

      I had great expectations of AMD 64-bit ARMs. In the end, they merely cemented their image of failure to deliver.

      1. Lennart Sorensen

        Re: The future can't be prevented. Only delayed.

        No gigabyte has been showing vapour-ware for a long time too. You can't actually buy any of the nice arm servers gigabyte has shown, while you could actually get a hold of a development system from AMD. That is still the big problem for all the arm servers: You can't actually buy the damn things.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice to see some innovation

    scale out vs scale up designs, but more importantly to keep Intel on their toes.

  6. Blue Pumpkin
    WTF?

    x86 was NEVER the right choice

    for the last 30 years ....

    Unfortunately the margin here is too small to present all of the reasons ...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    KVM on ARM

    Or maybe the future really is rows and rows of generic x86 boxes running KVM on Linux.

    Erm... KVM on Linux already runs fine on ARM as well.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    if you are not running windows then x86 is not an issue

    Intel did a lot of work getting the x86 to perform well and it is the patents on this work which still limit other architectures.

  9. Crazy Operations Guy

    I hope they can survive

    It'll be a long time before companies will want to move over to ARM systems. Companies don't care about long-term cost savings when there is the risk that everything will just fall apart. The two biggest costs for a company with a large server real-estate are: maintenance costs of the hardware and development costs of the software that goes on it; the power cost for the systems and initial purchase of the hardware is minuscule. Even if the code itself doesn't need any re-work, you still need to do months and months worth of QA testing before management even considers moving over to a new platform.

    While companies love money, they aren't willing to save 5% on operational costs if it means risking the entire things collapsing for even an hour or two. Repayment to clients due to SLAs and lost business, not to mention the bad PR will cost a business far more than the cost savings of going with a different platform.

    For the past 15 years, I've been trying to get a client to replace their HP 9000 dinosaurs with x86 hardware and the above have been their counter-arguments. And if I can't get a fairly dynamic company to move away from a completely dead platform and would create close to 85-90% cost savings, what hope does ARM have when trying to get companies to move away from x86?

    1. Down not across Silver badge

      Re: I hope they can survive

      While companies love money, they aren't willing to save 5% on operational costs if it means risking the entire things collapsing for even an hour or two. Repayment to clients due to SLAs and lost business, not to mention the bad PR will cost a business far more than the cost savings of going with a different platform.

      And you wonder why they don't want to replace their HP9000 with x86?

  10. Christian Berger

    Will there be a common platform

    The big problem about ARM right now is that virtually every computer requires its own OS image. While on PCs you can boot your OS on virtually all PCs with just 2 images, ARM systems are incredibly diverse.

    Seriously on a PC you can blindly access some ports and you will always find a serial port. Same goes for basic graphics, USB, SATA or whatever you could wish for. And for things that do not have fixed ports you can query the devices in a standardized way.

    This needs to be established first before we can think about having ARM servers. There's no point in having one that can only run version X of operating system Y.

    Hopefully eventually such a standard platform will move into the mobile world. This would finally mean that you could choose your operating system independently of your manufacturer. You could even update your software without it. Suddenly a mobile device might actually be useful for a longer period of time.

    1. Justin Clift

      Re: Will there be a common platform

      This sounds like what you're after, for ARM servers at least: :)

      http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/01/arm-finally-defines-a-platform-as-it-sets-its-sights-on-the-server-room/

  11. Stuart Halliday
    Mushroom

    RISC OS would be a dream on one of these... (I have funny dreams).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "(I have funny dreams)."

      Do they involve electric sheep?

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